Has Your Massachusetts Employer Denied You Meal Break Time?

by | Aug 25, 2023 | Employment Law |

Massachusetts based Dollar Tree Stores, Inc. d/b/a Family Dollar has been cited $1.5 million in penalties for more than 3,900 violations of the state’s meal break laws, by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office (AG).

Family Dollar was issued two citations by the AG’s Office for failing to provide employees who worked for more than six hours in one day at least 30 minutes for a meal break, affecting 620 employees across 100 locations throughout Massachusetts – the majority of which are in low-income neighborhoods.

Family Dollar, a Virginia-based company, employs more than 900 people at its Massachusetts stores and operates more than 15,000 stores across the country.

Dollar Tree has a store in Framingham on Blandin Avenue and there is a Dollar Tree store in Ashland.

“Workers give us their time, energy, and efforts to keep businesses running and our economy afloat,” said AG.  “These citations should send a message to all companies that they need to do right by their employees and provide meal breaks consistent with the law.”

The AG’s Fair Labor Division began investigating Family Dollar after receiving multiple complaints that employees were not given proper meal breaks because of persistent staffing shortages. Investigators were able to determine that from 2018 to 2019, the company routinely cut the necessary payroll hours, leaving stores under-staffed. This resulted in hundreds of employees being unable to leave their stores or take meal breaks.

Employees were routinely required to remain on store premises, even when they were able to punch out for meal breaks. Massachusetts’ breaks and time off laws provide workers with a right to at least a 30-minute meal break for each six hours worked in a calendar day.

During this meal break, workers must be relieved of their duties and be permitted to leave the workplace. Any requirement to remain on store premises is considered working time, and a violation of the law.

If you believe that your rights have been violated in your workplace, contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar at 978-844-4095 to schedule a FREE case evaluation.


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